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06 November 2004

Magnanimous Defeat - essay by JPB

I like it when John Perry Barlow of Barlowfriendz gets all elegaic like this. Magnanimous Defeat is, unsurprisingly, Barlow's musings on the election results and his reaction to them and where he thinks we should go from here. In case you don't know who JPB was before the Internet, he is mainly a lyricist, which is a type of poet in my view and there is a definite beat-poetry / cowboy-ballad esthetic in his prose. I particularly liked this part, which also struck a bit of a nerve for me:

I have a terrible admission to make. I've been so fanatically opposed to this administration that I have taken dark satisfaction in their failures, even though they were American failures as well. I welcomed growing indications that the situation in Iraq was deteriorating into a sump-hole of back-alley insurgency. Good economic news was bad economic news as far as I was concerned, and vice versa. I was tickled to death with Al Qaqaa and its terrorist-purloined WMDs, and not just because the name was so great. Surely all these bad tidings would eventually add up to an indictment that would convict Bush in the eyes of the American people and they would rouse themselves from Fox-hypnosis and 'possum sleep and vote for change.
But it didn't turn out that way. While I still believe that half of America is hallucinating on hot religion and bad TV, I can't say I have been any too sane, having been delivered into a condition where I took comfort in the successes of our enemies and frowned at news of economic recovery. Despite my own financial anxieties, and those of all around me, I have been so zealous that my own well-being was secondary in importance to the political damage bad times might do the Bush administration. Now that's hallucination. And I'm sorry.

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